More Musings, The Sequel: A (Slight) Change of Plans :D

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Hello all, and a happy Saturday/Sunday to everyone. Hope you're doing well.

This is just a brief post I'm putting up about a change of plans I decided on this week. In fact, most of it will actually be about the songs that came to mind when I decided to write this. lol That said, the main reason I wrote this, as you will see, is so I've committed to this decision in writing. :c) 

I mentioned in my last few posts that I had three writing projects I'm going work on, and that I'd decided to start with a series of posts about my experience having my GCS in Montreal. After that, I would tackle two other projects I've had on the back burner for a long, long time. 

These are larger, more complex - and, in the case of the project I had planned to work on after the Montreal series, more challenging and painful: my childhood.

Well, I started work on the Montreal/GCS project this week, spending about eight hours total over four nights. And it was going well.

But after the second night, I began to feel myself being drawn to this second, more difficult project. This feeling didn't subside after two more nights of writing.

I've learned to trust my instincts, particularly on important matters such as this.

So, I've decided to put the Montreal/GCS project on hold for the time being. 

Instead, I'm finally taking on writing about the one thing I've never really allowed myself to truly face, even after all these years. 

Why now? I don't know. But that voice inside is never wrong, for bad or good.

So, I started late last night, and then for the entire afternoon today. About nine or ten hours, all told.

I haven't gotten to the challenging part yet. But it's coming up.

And this time I'm ready. Once and for all.

I'm not going to post it until the entire thing is done (in multiple posts, based on how much I've already written). It's going to take a significant amount of time. 

But I will finish it. 

And I will post it.

And based on my experience in finishing the other posts in The Chronicles of Cass series, it will be an exorcism as much as, if not more than, it is a writing project.

I'm going to post about other topics in the interim to keep up the discipline of posting, so it won't be total radio silence. :c) So keep your eyes on this space! 'Til next time...

***

I heard a song early in the week that I suspect may have played a role in why I decided to switch up the order of my upcoming posts. I don't think it was a coincidence that I came across this particular song at this particular time.

It was written by Colin Hay, who was the singer and main songwriter in the Australian band Men at Work. The band's first two albums were quite successful, particularly their debut, Business As Usual (1982), which was a massive global hit. 

Cargo, the 1983 follow-up, wasn't quite as successful commercially (although it still did very well), but showed real artistic growth. Unfortunately, their third and final album, 1985's Two Hearts, was a disappointment both commercially and creatively. 

The band was dropped by their record label and, after several fruitless years trying to recapture the magic, they broke up. Several years after that his record label dropped Hay from his contract as a solo artist as well after three unsuccessful albums. 

He entered a dark period in his life, trying to reconcile where he currently was - on his own, with no recording contract and no audience to speak of - with where he had been - worldwide fame, Grammy awards, platinum albums, and on and on. 

The result of that struggle became the basis for his most beloved, and enduring, song as a solo artist: "Waiting For My Real Life To Begin," first recorded for his 1994 Topanga album. No need to elaborate further; this wonderful, moving live version speaks for itself:

The American TV series Scrubs , ostensibly a sitcom, used this song to great effect in one of its best episodes, "My Philosophy." While ostensibly a sitcom, "My Philosophy" demonstrates how it could, and frequently did, segue in an instant to powerful drama. Both this episode and show are well-worth your time. Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the terrific 2015 documentary about Hay, also titled Waiting For My Real Life To Begin. It's wonderful.

***

After their debut, Men At Work were unfairly labeled by many as a lightweight, jokey band. But like their spiritual cousins Barenaked Ladies, there is frequently more going on for the careful listener. "Overkill," written by Hay, was released as the leadoff single from their second album Cargo. Both the song and its excellent video made it clear that Men At Work, and Colin Hay, had much more to offer than easy laughs:

In an interview, Hay was once asked which song he was proudest of writing. He cited "Overkill," particularly what he acknowledged were its deeply personal lyrics:

I can't get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications

Especially at night
I worry over situations that
I know will be alright
It's just overkill

Day after day it reappears
Night after night
My heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away
Ghosts appear and fade away 
Ghosts appear and fade away
He went on to say that after completing "Overkill" he knew for the first time that he was a real songwriter. And rightly so, as a song that still stands up decades later proves the point.

***

Since this post is about changes, I thought I should end with a few songs about change. First up is "Change," from Patty Griffin's 1998 Flaming Red album. Her albums are almost exclusively acoustic-based, with Flaming Red as the lone exception. An out-and-out rock album, Flaming Red is a showcase for Griffin's hurricane of a voice. If you've never seen pictures of her, she's a tiny slip of a thing, but that voice is a force of nature, as this song shows.

 
Next, a second song about change - one that spans decades. 

Woody Guthrie's daughter Nora invited Jay Farrar (Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt) to add music for some of her father's unpublished lyrics to commemorate Woody's 100th birthday in 2012. Farrar, in turn, invited Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Will Johnson (South San Gabriel and Centro Matic), and Anders Parker, a New Orleans-based songwriter to collaborate.

The result from the ad hoc collective was called New Multitudes, which served simultaneously as the name of the group, the album, and one of its songs. Critically acclaimed upon its release in 2012, Farrar, James, Johnson, and Parker supported the album with a brief nine show tour. 

I was fortunate enough to see them at their final appearance at the 2012 Newport Folk Festival. As good as album was, watching them perform live was even better. The guitars were turned up, adding a real edge to the songs. 

That being said, my favorite songs from the album are two of its quietest. The music for "Changing World" was composed by Jim James; his one-of-a-kind voice sings the verses, while all four members share the chorus.



My other favorite song, written by Will Johnson, is "Corine, My Sheba Queen," a hushed duet with James. Anders Parker provides the gorgeous guitar parts.

 
This song in particular sounds as if it could have been written yesterday - or 200 years ago. The stunning black and white photography perfectly captures the song's shimmering, ghostly beauty.

***

And on that lovely note will this post end. Have a good week, all...

2 comments:

Deanna on February 14, 2021 at 6:58 AM said...

I recall being puzzled and a lot disappointed that the therapist I hired to help me with my gender dysphoria seemed to be spending so much time getting me to examine my childhood trauma, and almost no time on the 'subject at hand, as I saw it. I have said thank you to the good doctor over and over, both in my mind and aloud, in the years since.
Don't expect the process to be over - ever. If you are anything like me, that rabbit hole is a deep one. Like a surreal onion that you peel back, and there is always another layer.
Big Hugs <3
D

Cassidy on February 14, 2021 at 9:54 PM said...

I agree 100%. The process is a journey, not a destination. I spent most of my life shut down emotionally so I could survive.

Learning to let those emotions happen, even now, is going to take a long time. But it has to be done. I'm through being stuck in the rut where I've been the past three-plus years. And to get past it, this has to happen. So it will.

Also, thank you again for the heads-up on the duplicate video link this morning. I would hate to have deprived anyone of that version of "Corine." :c) (Memo to self: remember to double- and triple-check your posts when you finish them at 3:00 AM. ;D)

Hugs,
Cass

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